Winton man, 19, killed in early morning head-on collision on North Santa Fe Drive

A 19-year-old Winton man was killed Tuesday morning in a two-car, head-on collision on North Santa Fe Drive near Cressey, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The victim has been identified as Alejandro Avalos. The driver of the other vehicle involved, 54-year-old Augustine Gomez, was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries, according to Officer John Patterson, CHP spokesman.

The crash was reported at 5:40 a.m. at the section of Santa Fe overlooking the Merced River. Avalos was driving a 2001 Chevy Silverado pickup eastbound on Santa Fe at around 40 mph. Meanwhile, Gomez was driving a 1991 Chevy Silverado pickup westbound on Santa Fe at about 55 mph.

For unknown reasons, Avalos' truck turned into the westbound lane and both vehicles collided head-on, Patterson said. The two vehicles came to a rest blocking both lanes of the road.

The road was closed for several hours and reopened around 9 a.m.

Avalos was pronounced dead at the scene. Patterson said Avalos was not wearing a seat belt.

Patterson said it's unknown whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.